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JIS bags Outstanding Strategic Initiative Award in London

JERUDONG International School (JIS) recently won the Outstanding Strategic Initiative Award in the prestigious British International Schools Award (BISA) for 2018 for their environmental effort to restore 10,000m2 of tropical heathland initiative.

The Outdoor Discovery Centre (ODC) initiative by JIS was announced the award winners in London, the United Kingdom (UK) at a prestigious award ceremony at The Connaught Hotel on January 22. Chris McGeorge, the former Sports Director at JIS and now based in the UK, collected the award on behalf of the school.

Early in 2016, the JIS set aside 10,000m2 of land within the extensive campus.

Part of the land is forested while in other sections the tropical heathland had been beaten back, leading to soil quality to be diminished.

It has now become a learning space of which the school community are very proud as it lies just behind the large Sports Complex adjacent to the Junior School for easy accessibility as a learning area.

Students explaining about compost to Her Royal Highness Countess of Wessex

Students explaining about compost to Her Royal Highness Countess of Wessex

Chris McGeorge, former Sports Director at JIS, receiving the Outstanding Strategic Initiative Award in the prestigious British International Schools Award (BISA) for 2018. – PHOTOS: JIS

Chris McGeorge, former Sports Director at JIS, receiving the Outstanding Strategic Initiative Award in the prestigious British International Schools Award (BISA) for 2018. – PHOTOS: JIS

Botanists from Universiti Brunei Darussalam assisted in identifying plants in the remaining areas of woodland while students helped by testing the soil and indigenous Bruneian saplings such as the Simpur which will be planted in the open areas.

Students have met weekly, mentored by a local permaculture expert to focus on using garden waste in a composting project. The infrastructure for the ODC was developed with pathways, seating, signs and fencing being installed by the students and assisted by teachers.

In April 2017, for Earth Week, the first opportunity to showcase the ODC to the local community in Brunei arose. The ODC was used as the backdrop and focus for the celebrations that week with activities arranged by the whole school and participation from local NGOs.

The project to restore and use this area has been primarily student led. The ODC was visited in October 2017 by Their Royal Highnesses Earl and Countess of Wessex when visiting Brunei for the Golden Jubilee celebrations of His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah ibni Al-Marhum Sultan Haji Omar ‘Ali Saifuddien Sa’adul Khairi Waddien, Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s Accession to the Throne.

As Year 12 student, Shanie Chauhan (who volunteered to help in the ODC as part of her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award) commented, “It has given me an overwhelming sense of accomplishment for everyone who was a part of it. I am especially pleased to know that the ODC will continue to grow and develop.

“I will be proud to be able to say that I witnessed the development from the very beginning. Working as part of a team of all ages has inspired me that when you have an idea and you truly believe in it, it will grow into something to be proud of. Going from a deserted space, the ODC has transformed into a unique learning facility for all ages and all the faculties of my school. From the sensory path, to the herb spirals and the compost area, these have all impacted many people from my school community and I’m glad to have been a part of and will continue to be.”

Meanwhile, Principal Barnaby Sandow expressed his delight to hear that JIS has won the prestigious award. “It highlights the presence of such an outstanding school here in Brunei on a global platform – something we all can be proud of.

“It is also testimony to the dedicated students and hardworking, inspirational teachers at JIS who have united to set up and create the ODC. I hope that it is something we can all celebrate here in beautiful Brunei.”

Borneo Bulletin | Aziz Idris & Khairil Hassan | January 28, 2018